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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Long Weekend Penang Trip - Day 1

Last Friday, which is Labour Day and a long weekend. Huai Bin and I planned a trip to visit Penang. Penang Island to be exact because we didn't go over to the mainland. We got only 3 days 2 nights, even Penang Island itself there's not enough time for us to cover all of the attraction there. Of course, when it comes to Penang, there's the great food there. I go makan in Penang! Kekeke. Instead of taking the bus or driving there, we chose to fly with MAS. It will really safe the time from the traffic congestion in the highway because it's the long weekend. It's really cool that MAS now has a Balik Kampung stimulus package that offers value airfare during time like this.

We met up in KL Sentral 2 hours before our flight so that we can check-in our baggage there. MAS is one of the few airlines that offer this service in KL Sentral. Before checking-in, we have to buy the tickets for KLIA Express first. One way cost RM 35 for adult. It only takes 28 minutes to reach KLIA. Save time and save money for petrol and toll.

Huai Bin look fresh even though he only had two hours of sleep.

The sun is rising on the way to KLIA.

We arrived in KLIA at about 7.45 a.m. Our flight is at 9.15 a.m. Boarding time is about 8.30 a.m. So, we still have some time to kill.

Prohibited items to bring on the plane. For domestic flight only the upper part is prohibited. Which means I can bring my lip balm, and mineral water in my hand carry.

Our plane has arrived.

Flying with MAS is a real gem because there's no extra pay for baggage not exceeding 20 kg.

Ample leg room even in the Economy seats.

Free salted peanuts.

Free drink. Mine is a pink guava juice.

Huai Bin picked the seats near the window so that he can take picture. No extra charges to pick the seat when checking-in and we don't have to sit separately just because we didn't pay extra to pick our seat like what you'll encounter from a low cost carrier.

It only takes 40 minutes to reach Penang International Airport from Kuala Lumpur International Airport versus 5 hours from Kuala Lumpur to Penang by car or bus (taken into consideration the time lost in traffic congestion due to long weekend crowd)

Welcome to Penang Island.

We took an airport taxi to our hotel. Cititel Hotel in Jalan Penang, George Town. It cost us RM 38, we bought the voucher from the counter in the airport. It takes about 20 minutes to reach Cititel. As it is a long weekend, Huai Bin was only able to book a room with one King Size bed instead of two Twin Size bed. No problem there. As long as there's a room to stay. Kekeke.

We can view the sea from our room.

After putting down our stuff, it's time to go out and search for lunch. So, we make our way to one of the best known place for Char Kueh Tiow in Penang. Lorong Selamat, Jalan McCalister. At first we wanted to take the Rapid Penang CAT Free Shuttle Bus to McCalister Road but we waited for 15 minutes and didn't see one. So we took the cab which cost us RM 15, and then we saw the Rapid Penang CAT bus came to station 7, which is just outside Cititel Penang. Sigh. RM 15 is an outrageos price because on the 3rd day we took a cab back to our hotel from Lorong Selamat, which cost us only RM 8. Even though RM 8 is not cheap for such a short distance but still it's better than RM 15. Oh, the taxi in Penang doesn't use the meter even when there's meter installed in the car. So be sure to haggle the price first before going in.

Once we reached Lorong Selamat, I immediately recognize the char kueh tiow stall just outside the famous ice-kacang restaurant that KY blogged about before. Huai Bin and I then placed our order and were told that we have to wait 1 hour @_@. We decided to go explore the area while waiting for our char kueh tiow.

Just opposite the ice-kacang restaurant, I saw a very familiar logo of a bell. I know that the shop opposite will be selling the famous nutmeg produce (buah pala). There's so many other products being sold here too like the Tambun biscuit. I bought two nutmeg medical cream while Huai Bin bought two packets of nutmeg to eat.

Since, I know that Lorong Seratus Tahun is also some where along McCalister Road, so I asked the staff there where is it. He don't quite know the exact location but he asked his friend and got us the location. He also gave us two Penang tourist brochure that have map.

After getting the direction, we made our way to cross the road , which we passed by the aunty char kueh teow of Lorong Selamat. There's two char kueh teow in Lorong Selamat and both has a lot of customer too. While walking our way to Lorong Seratus Tahun, which is famous for the curry mee, we bumped into Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.

Okay. Not exactly the great man himself but his Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Centre Penang. Too bad, it doesn't open on public holiday so we didn't get a chance to visit. Lucky the gate is open and we got to take pictures with the statue outside the mansion.

For the country.

After asking the local there for more directions to Lorong Seratus Tahun and being chased by dogs, we finally made it to Lorong Seratus Tahun. But alas, we were too late because it's almost 2.30 p.m. and the curry mee already closed T_T We'll be back.

Walking around in the heat can really work out one's appetite. Lucky when we were back at the char kueh teow stall, our food is ready. We were asked to sit at the restaurant opposite because the ice-kacang restaurant is packed. I ordered teh C bing (iced tea with milk and sugar), some kopitiam in Penang uses brown sugar in teh C bing just like Sarawak. Only thing is that they don't know how to make it into different layer.

1 hour wait is really worth it, each plate will get three big scrumptious prawn. Of course there's the Chinese sausage, egg, beansprout and 'gau choy'. It's not too salty and the chilli is very rounded with the flat noodle. Most importantly a bit of pork lard were use to uplift the aroma. The wok hei is there too. The best is the prawn is so freaking springy, once I bite into it, it's like dancing in my mouth. So fresh. I won't mind paying RM 6 for this.

Rating: 4.5/5

After having lunch, we decided to walk down to Komtar. Yes, we walked. We walk a lot on the first day. LOL.

A random clinic that I saw on the way.

It's actually not that far walking from Lorong Selamat to Komtar. It took us about 15 minutes. Huai Bin wanted to go up the observation deck in the 60th floor in Komtar. So, we made our way up.

It bloody cost us RM 15 each just to going to the observation deck. We get a bottle of small drinking water though. It's very empty in the observation deck. I guessed not many people like to take photos from here. The windows in the deck is quite dirty and thus making it quite difficult to take the pictures. A good thing here is that you were able to view Penang Island from a 360 degrees view.

Some of the picture I took of Penang Island while up there.

We then walked along Jalan Penang back to our hotel from Komtar after we were done taking pictures. On the way, we saw a crowd nearby a cendol stall. Immediately it triggered us to go and buy two bowl of cendol. It seems that we have found the famous Jalan Penang cendol stall. Funny thing is that there's another stall just opposite with no customer at all.

The customers waiting to place their order.

Service is quite fast and efficient. Our order is served in a matter of seconds. Even Phua Chu Kang came here for the cendol, don't pray-pray ah.

Having a bowl of cooling cendol is really refreshing. The cendol texture here is really different from the one I normally eat. It's firmer and not slumpy at all. Very rich with pandan flavour too. They also put red bean. Nice. This stall is at Leboh Keng Kwee, Jalan Penang. You won't miss it because there's always a crowd here queueing for a bowl of cendol.

Rating: 4/5

After downing the cendol, we continued our way back to our hotel. We freshen up and took a bit of rest.

Me all freshen up and ready for a nap.

After a short nap. It's time for dinner. So, Huai Bin and I decided to walk to Gurney Drive for food. You read that right. We walked again. This time we underestimated the distance to Gurney's Drive from Cititel Hotel. It's like going from South to North. It took us like 45 minutes to reach there. It's a blessing in disguise though because the traffic there is so congested.

We passed by this beautiful Mansion 32 on the way. It is now converted into a fine dining restaurant.

We were so bloody hungry when we reached Gurney Drive Hawker Centre after all the walking.

Look at the crowd. My bet is half of the crowd is from KL. LOL.

After we found a table, we started our food frenzy. We ordered laksa (assam laksa for us KL people), char kueh teow with duck egg, muachi (glutinous rice) which is quite famous and sold out very early, look out for the newspaper cuttings in front of the stall because there's a few muachi stalls there, sotong bakar (grilled sotong) that comes with a special chili sauce, pork satay, fried chicken skin and buttock, and fruit rojak with sotong. I personally recommend the muachi, pork satay, sotong bakar and fruit rojak. There's much better char kueh teow and laksa else where in Penang.

After downing our food with a can of ice cold beer, we made our way to the sea side. We were attracted by a crowd surrounding some people. We go check it out and found out that it is actually two street performer performing fire dance and stunt. I contributed RM 2 to their collection of money because they are really good. Huai Bin took videos of them performing here.


My most favourite shot.

Call them if you want them to perform in your house party.

Took a picture of the sea at night.

After the show ended, we decided to call it a day and walked to the front of Gurney Plaza and took the taxi home. We don't mind paying RM 15 for the ride because we were dead tire to walk back to the hotel.

Huai Bin and I at Gurney Drive

Next day will be historic places and more good food. No more walking or taking the taxi because one of's long time reader Cheryl is coming to show us around. Stay tuned.


Chester Chin said...


kudos for making your way there!

CUMI & CIKI said...

tt prawn is humongous! and ..erm, you get dressed up for a nap..? lol.. cute:P

Tummythoz said...

Wow. Like private walkathon! hehe.

卡珞 said...

Hi... I came across your blog from somewhere! I like to read your blog, especially this "Penang Trip"! Great job!

Bangsar-bAbE said...

The fried chicken skin damn nice right?? =D

Waaaa....banyak rajin la you! Walk to Komtar... o_0

sheryl0202 said...

wow lucky you! I've been wanting to go to Penang for the longest time since my trip there two years ago. Should be going this year, just need to arrange the timing thats all.

thenomadGourmand said...

lol..u walked frm cititel to gurney?? wonder u looked slimmer at Bellygood! o_o kekekek...
wat the hell happened to HB's hair???

Simon Seow said...

Chester: yupe, must try the original from Penang mah. But the first day closed. So ate it on the 3rd day.

Cumi & Cuki: no lah just for fun only

Tummythoz: yeah

Carollyl: thanks.

Sue Lynn: yeah, maybe we have the tourist kind of feeling that day. In KL, shops that's 500m away also I drive lol.

sheryl: you went to HK wat :p

Becky: I look slimmer meh? I thought I got fat after all the food in Penang.

YewJin said...

thanks! will remember that!! i saw the street performancee be4 but sadly only lasted for 5min then it starts to rain. hahaha
bad luck